Hyra offers alternative, despite long odds in Virginia Governor's race

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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ7) It's a rainy Sunday afternoon and the handshakes are few and far between for Libertarian Candidate Cliff Hyra.

But when people stop to talk, Hyra says he often finds a receptive audience.

"It seems like people are really hungry for a third choice and you know an alternative to the other two candidates," Hyra told WDBJ7. "A lot of people aren't so happy."

The three debates in the Governor's race included just two of the candidates, Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam. And Hyra says that has been a major frustration.

He has raised thousands to his opponents' millions. He has consistently polled in the single digits, but says the numbers would be much better if more people were able to hear his message.

"A lot of the things that made us extreme in people's eyes are now mainstream, and that's what I've observed," Hyra said, "it's almost like the other two parties have moved farther apart and become more polarized and we're right in the middle."

Hyra is 35 years old.

A graduate of Virginia Tech, and the George Mason University Law School, Hyra is a patent attorney.

He and his wife Stephanie have four children, the youngest born since he announced his campaign for Governor.

"Opportunity is what my campaign is all about," Hyra told the audience at the Buena Vista Labor Day Festival.

He is proposing a major tax break, exempting the first $60,000 of household income from state income tax.

He is the only candidate in the Governor's race who opposes two controversial natural gas pipeline projects.

And he is proposing comprehensive criminal justice reform that includes the legalization of marijuana.

I'm always hearing these candidates talk about these culture war issues, especially the statues," Hyra said. "In the debates it came up over and over again, and you know I don't think one time in all three debates criminal justice reform came up at all, so that's something if I wasn't pushing it I don't think people would be talking much about it at all."